Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Henry County, IN
    Posts
    166

    Default First spring inspection question.

    After doing a quick check and finding my hive still alive last week temps are finally cooperating. Today it is supposed to be around 70 degrees but temps are supposed to drop off the next couple days. It won't be real cold but lows in the high 30's and highs in the mid 40's. By next weekend highs are back to the upper 50's. I was planning to go over this afternoon and do my first spring inspection and see what is going in down in the frames. I am assuming at this point in the year I won't disturb anything that I shouldn't by pulling frames, given the overnight temps in the high 30's to low 40's? I have some dry pollen I am going to give them to help them until we start blooming around here. Also am considering putting my top feeder on and giving some syrup, your thoughts on this?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    880

    Default Re: First spring inspection question.

    Feeding now will help them build up for the flow. Depending on when your flow normally starts you should be ok. The main thing with going in a hive while the nighttime temps are still low is to avoid disrupting the brood nest so the bees can keep it warm.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Murfreesboro, Tenn. United States
    Posts
    281

    Default Re: First spring inspection question.

    You might be surprised what's in bloom right now. Can you see them bringing back any pollen? If so, I wouldn't feed someone elses pollen to them. It might contain spores of something bad. Let them gather their own. As for feeding syrup now, are they out of their own winter stores? If they still have honey I wouldn't feed syrup either.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Bloomington, IN, USA
    Posts
    307

    Default Re: First spring inspection question.

    I'm in Monroe County and my bees were bringing in pollen when I checked yesterday

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Allen County, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: First spring inspection question.

    Wow you southern Indiana people definitely get spring earlier than me. Mine aren't bringing in anything yet.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Henry County, IN
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: First spring inspection question.

    Well here is what's up. Did an inspection today, my medium super frames were loaded with bees but were bone dry, no stores. Top deep was the same, loaded with bees but no stores. Bottom deep did not have many bees (I am guessing normal with screened bottom board). I watched for about 10 minutes and did not see any pollen coming in. So I made a small pollen feeder and hung it in a tree about 4 foot high and about 15 feet directly in front of the hive. I also went ahead and put on my hive top feeder and made some sugar syrup ( added just under a gallon). It was still about 70 degrees today when I added it but tomorrow is only supposed to be around 50 degrees for the high. Not sure if they will take it or not but at this point I guess it would do more good then harm.
    I did notice some small hive beetles, not a lot but maybe 5-10 in the entire hive. Some were in the cells in the supers amongst the bees. What is the best treatment for them?
    There were no capped cells at all and no signs that the queen was laying yet. A friend about 20 miles north of me and another neighbor about a mile away both said there bees were bringing in pollen. Hopefully I can get them through the next month.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Morgan County, IN
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: First spring inspection question.

    Pollen coming in here in Morgan County also. Maple I imagine. I put a pollen patty on last week and they've eaten most of it already. I would think it might be too cool at night for syrup, maybe sugar brick would be better. But I'm no expert far from it, just I 3rd yr newbee who's happy they made it through the winter.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Henry County, IN
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: First spring inspection question.

    I kind of thought the same thing on the syrup but wasn't sure. Since it was in the 70's when I put it out yesterday I thought they might at least get a start on it. Do the daily low temps need to be over 50 or do the high temps for the day need to be in the 50's?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,956

    Default Re: First spring inspection question.

    Sounds like a dry hive with little feed! You should have brood by now I would guess but the immediate issue is you need to feed the bees! Put warm syrup on early in the day and hopefully they will pack enough away to do some good.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Morgan County, IN
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: First spring inspection question.

    Not much activity today here in Morgan County just west of you. Kinda cold with the wind and all. My 2 hives didn't have much activity and I didn't see any pollen coming in. I would think with tonight being in the mid 20's it's still too cool for liquid feed. I'm just a newbee but I read alot and I think a solid food would be better, pollen patty or sugar brick. Just my 1/2 cent worth, maybe in a couple yrs it'll be worth 2 cents. For what its worth I haven't looked into my brood, just put some food on top of the frames. Hope all goes well with yours.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Henry County, IN
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: First spring inspection question.

    I thought I might see some brood but Indiana had a really cold February. The last week of February, first week of March air temps were below zero and highs did not get above freezing. I am assuming the cold combined with the fact that they had just gone through the last of their stores is the reason she has not started laying yet.

    This is my first year with a hive so first over wintered. I only currently have the one hive and don't have frames of honey etc around to feed as recommended above. I was leery of getting those from someone else not knowing the health and history of their hives.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    880

    Default Re: First spring inspection question.

    Quote Originally Posted by flyin-lowe View Post
    I thought I might see some brood but Indiana had a really cold February. The last week of February, first week of March air temps were below zero and highs did not get above freezing. I am assuming the cold combined with the fact that they had just gone through the last of their stores is the reason she has not started laying yet.

    This is my first year with a hive so first over wintered. I only currently have the one hive and don't have frames of honey etc around to feed as recommended above. I was leery of getting those from someone else not knowing the health and history of their hives.
    Normally they won't brood up until they have some pollen. You could probably give them some, but you seem to have a pretty serious SHB infestation. For every 1 you see there are probably 1000 that you don't see. The best prevention for SHB is full sun. The hive beetles breed in the hive and lay their eggs in little corners. They pupate in the ground. Diatomaceous earth or nematodes under the hive will interrupt their cycle somewhat but those pupa can crawl a long ways. Oil traps can be used between the frames. I am too clumsy to put them in and clean them out without spilling the oil, which does more harm than good. I use the Freeman bottom boards with oil in the trays and they seem to work very well.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,956

    Default Re: First spring inspection question.

    Your immediate issue is starvation. You need to get some sugar into them today! In lieu of anything else. make a thin paste of sugar and water and take a paint brush and do the best you can to get some pushed into cells on drawn frame and put that in contact with the cluster.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Henry County, IN
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: First spring inspection question.

    Thanks for all the info, doing my best as a newbie to keep them going and get them through spring. Today's temps are in the mid 40's and it's pretty windy. My top feeder was on top of the inner cover and today I went out to take it off. I took it off and there was a good number of bees clustered in the hole of the inner cover. My plan was to add newspaper on top of the frames and dry sugar on that. Since the bees were filling the hole and coming out on top of the inner cover I decided not to remove the inner cover and disturb then any more then I had. I put 2-3 pounds of sugar on top of the inner cover and sprayed it down with a little water from a squirt bottle. If nothing else I hope this lasts a couple days until this weekend when temps are supposed to warm up a little.
    I looked like a noticeable amount of syrup was gone from the feeder so I am hoping they took some of it Monday when it was in the 70's before it cooled off Tuesday afternoon.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Henry County, IN
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: First spring inspection question.

    No I have never tried to take sugar through a straw. However I have read of hundreds of bee keepers he use dry sugar for emergency feeding during the winter. The hive produces some moisture for the sugar. That is also why I sprayed it down yesterday. I am sure that the bees during the winter are taking the sugar and they are not going out and getting water.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    1,139

    Default Re: First spring inspection question.

    When it's cold, sugar on top of the inner cover is not as useful as sugar laid on newspapers set directly on the top bars. The thing is that you need room for the sugar, so most people have a shim above the upper-most box. You can make a shim: just a frame a couple of inches high, same size as your boxes, square as you can make it. You don't need to use box joints, simple joints will be fine for this.

    However if you can't get a shim made there are two options: add the shallowest box you have (typically an empty medium or shallow super) or just a very thin layer of sugar in the beespace on top of the bars and under the inner cover.

    The first option has the disadvantage of making the bees' space taller (and a little chillier on top of the bars) but you will moderate that by using newspapers under the sugar and you can leave a good whack of sugar for them. They may also start some wonky comb in he voids which you will have to deal with.

    The second option will require very frequent refilling because you won't be able to leave much sugar in that very narrow space.

    But if your bees are literally out of sugar/honey they must be fed immediately, or they will starve. Pollen is nice but it's not what the adult bees eat. They need sugar. Winter patties may also be a solution, but they can lead to rapid expansion of SHB if not consumed promptly. If your weather is variable, I might consider a patty which can be laid on the top bars, no need for a shim, for a few days. Until you can get back in and add the syrup feeder.

    Don't be worried about the bees being in the hole of the inner cover if you think they are in need of emergency feeding. A few bees lost to flying out in cold weather vs. all bees being lost to starvation is an easy choice for me. (And bees at 40 F aren't dead bees anyway, mine are actively flying every day in the low 30s right now, but they are well-fed/fueled bees.) If the bees are on the inner cover, try lifting it sligtly and see if they start to scurry down to warmer areas. You can also gently scrape them off on to the top bars with your hive tool. Cool, hungry bees are a bit sluggish.

    And next winter, as you pack up your hives (even the ones you feel are very well-supplied); add a feeding rim, just in case!

    Enj.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads